Cornerback Cornerstones

On the eve of the Kansas City Chiefs Rookie Mini-camp, the team announces today they have signed the last of their 2015 draft class. So how will Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson impact the defense this season?

Even though Cornerbacks, Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson won’t be able to participate in this weekends rookie mini camp, the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff has to be ecstatic both players are signed, sealed and delivered.

In getting both cornerbacks under contract, the Chiefs can focus on getting each up to speed when they arrive in June once they complete their 2014-15 school year. So what will they get when each arrives next month?

Peters comes to the Chiefs with some question marks that have been well documented since KC made him their first round pick. However, there is no question the young man possesses enormous talent and will easily slide into a starters role this season.

For Steven Nelson, the teams third round pick, it might not take him long to find a starting spot either. Peters is an outside guy and Nelson plays inside. In the short term, Peters will line up opposite with veteran Cornerback, Sean Smith and Peters will become a nickel back for Bob Sutton’s defense.

After both corners were selected, it’s easy to see why the Chiefs drafted them to compete in the pass happy AFC West. Peters reminds me of Kevin Ross and Nelson is a carbon copy of Mark McMillian.

Both had tremendous careers in Kansas City and the Chiefs are hoping both can be the missing pieces in their secondary this season and beyond. Now it’s important to note, counting on a pair of rookie defensive backs to play at high level is a risky thought, but both have the skillset to do just that.

Peters is physical, fast and as we all saw this past season at the University of Washington, a high-octane individual. Now take that view any way you want, but for me, you need to have serious attitude to become an elite NFL shut down cornerback.

Nelson offers less size but has tremendous ball awareness. How many times a year ago did we witness KC’s cornerbacks inability to locate the ball in flight? That won’t happen as often with Peters or Nelson defending wide receivers this season.

Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton, had to be doing cartwheels, and offering blessings to the almighty, when the Chiefs were able to snag two of the top cornerbacks in this draft. There was never a question Peters was a top ten talent, and in some circles, Nelson was a low to mid round second round draftee.

With the suspension of Smith looming to open the 2015 campaign, the Chiefs cornerbacks will be tested early and often this season facing some of the games elite quarterbacks. It’ll be Sutton’s ability, along with position coach, Emmitt Thomas, to get both defenders ready for opening day.

Peters is probably ahead on the NFL ready curve, but Nelson can shorten that distance, if he trusts his speed and ball hawking skills throughout the pre-season. Either way, I can’t remember a time the Chiefs had this much potential talent at the cornerback position.

It’s far too early to think Peters and Nelson can become Albert Lewis and Kevin Ross on the field but it’s not out of the realm of possibility either. The key for both players will be their ability to adjust to the speed of the game, and for the coaching staff, to allow each player to use their god given talents.

Those two things don’t always mesh once the kids get on the field. However, should that occur over the next four months, Sutton could continue to play pressure defense knowing he can trust his rookie cornerback.

Still that won’t be an easy task for the diaper dandies facing the likes of Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers, Aaron Rogers and Joe Flacco this season. Yet, if they can manage to hold their ground against those Hall of Fame signal callers, then this cornerback draft class has the makings of being a franchise changer for the Chiefs. Top Stories